The United States (US) has approved the delivery of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine, a senior US official announced that Washingtonhas approved the shipment of F-16s from the Netherlands and Denmark to Ukraine.
The official said that after the Ukrainian pilots had completed their training, the two countries had given assurances that they would approve the shipment of F-16s. It was emphasized that the advanced F-16s will be used against Russian invaders.
"We welcome the fact that Washington has opened the way for F-16 fighter jets to be sent to Ukraine," Dutch Defense Minister Wopke Hoekstra said.
"We will now discuss the matter with our European partners," Hoekstra said.
With this, Denmark has indicated that the supply of fighter jets to Ukraine will be discussed.
In addition, Danish Defense Minister Jakob Ellemann-Jensen made a statement to the Ritzau news agency.
"The government has said that after the training, (F-16) assistance is the natural next step. We are currently discussing the issue with our close allies and I think we will come to a conclusion shortly,'' Jensen said.
An 11-nation coalition is expected to begin training Ukrainian pilots in Denmark later this month (August). Denmark's interim Defense Minister Troels Poulsen said that his country hopes to see the results of the training in early 2024.
NATO members Denmark and the Netherlands are leading international efforts to supply Ukraine with F-16s after training Ukrainian pilots and support staff to maintain the aircraft.
In May, Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte announced that his country was seriously considering sending F-16s to Ukraine, which would be decommissioned.
According to the Dutch Defense Ministry, the Dutch Air Force currently has 24 operational F-16 fighter jets. It was announced that these aircraft will be decommissioned in mid-2024.
"I am writing to express US support for both the transfer of F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine and the training of Ukrainian pilots by qualified F-16 instructors," US Secretary of State Anthony Blinken wrote in a letter of assurance to his Dutch and Danish counterparts.
"It is critical for Ukraine to be able to defend itself against continued Russian aggression and violations of its sovereignty," Blinken said in his letter emphasizing support for Ukraine.
“Ukrainian pilots will benefit from the newly acquired capabilities as soon as they complete their training,” he added.
Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov commented on the US supply of F-16S.
"A new example of an extremely dangerous development is the US plans to deliver F-16 fighter jets to the Kyiv regime,” Lavrov said.
"We have informed the nuclear powers - the United States, Britain, and France - that Russia will not rule out the ability of these planes to carry nuclear weapons. Any assurances here will not help,” Lavrov added.
Source: The Guardian